Ex-Olympians call off protest against hockey team
LAHORE: A six-day protest camp staged by some former Olympians against poor performance of the national hockey team in the Azlan Shah Cup finally ended at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Three Olympians — Naveed Alam, Mansoor Ahmed and Mohammad Saqlain — with other hockey fans were present in the protest camp.
Naveed, while addressing a news conference, said that the six-day protest must have created an impact on the performance of the national team.
He admitted that national team performed better in the recently-concluded tour of Europe, claiming that it was the result of the pressure, which he and his group exerted on the PHF through the protest camp.
Naveed emphasised the team should win the gold medal in the upcoming London Olympics, adding that otherwise, the management should go home.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan secured a miserable eighth position under the coaching of ex-Olympian Naveed Alam at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Soon after Naveed finished his speech, PHF’s supporters, who also remained in front of the protest camp throughout the six days, started chanting slogans in favour of the PHF.
Meanwhile, Arshad Chaudhry, a PHF official, who is also a member of the national selection committee, said some Olympians were protesting not for the betterment of hockey, but for furthering their own agenda. He claimed the national team had improved remarkably in Europe having focussed on mistakes they committed in the Azlan Shah Cup.
The PHF welcomes positive criticism, the official said, adding that the manner some Olympians adopted in protesting against the team’s performance was not correct.
Defending Pakistan’s defeat in the opening match against Belgium on the European tour, he said the players could not acclimatise in the first match having played in Ipoh, Malaysia.
Pakistan drew the two-match series 1-1 against Germany after winning the first 4-3 and losing the second 2-0. In the last match of the tour, Pakistan played out a 3-3 draw against Holland.